The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

95° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Address crosses the party line

Suzi and Jeffrey Miller (center) applaud as they watch the State of the Union Address on Thursday, January 25, 2011 at the Pima Democratic Headquarters . The couple, married for 16 years, wear their Obama shirts proudly and said that  he has done miracles for the country.
Suzi and Jeffrey Miller (center) applaud as they watch the State of the Union Address on Thursday, January 25, 2011 at the Pima Democratic Headquarters . The couple, married for 16 years, wear their Obama shirts proudly and said that “”he has done miracles for the country.””

Bipartisanship, willingness to cross party lines and setting new goals encompassed the message of President Barack Obama’s third State of the Union address.

Obama said one of his major goals was to lower the current budget deficit, an effort he said would require both parties to accomplish.

In order to do so, Obama plans to freeze annual domestic spending for the next five years. He said this would be the most “”painful cut,”” however it would reduce the deficit by more than $400 billion over the next decade.

Obama also said Americans cannot afford to permanently extend tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans. Taking money away from schools and students instead of millionaires would not be a “”matter of punishing their (millionaires’) success, but about promoting America’s success.””

The president also responded to Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Health Care Act for Americans. Doing so, Obama said, would add one-quarter of a trillion dollars to the federal budget deficit and could create more tension between the Democrats and Republicans in Congress.

Obama said he was willing to compromise with opponents of the law, but would never deny someone health coverage because of a pre-existing condition. He is, however, willing to work with legislators who “”have ideas about how to improve this law by making care better or more affordable.”” In order to do so, he plans on correcting a flaw in the bill that has placed an unnecessary bookkeeping burden on small businesses.

Education was another issue that Obama felt both Democrats and Republicans could work on to progress the American job market and the global competitiveness of American workers.

Nearly half of all new jobs will require education that goes beyond a high school degree over the next 10 years, according to Obama, yet as many as one-quarter of American students are not finishing high school.

He placed particular emphasis on math and science education and said up-and-coming countries such as China and India had surpassed the U.S. He expressed his strong support for education.

“”We need to teach our kids that it’s not just the winner of the Super Bowl who deserves to be celebrated, but the winner of the science fair; that success is not a function of fame or PR, but of hard work and discipline,”” Obama said.

Americans need to start viewing educators as “”nation builders”” instead of just teachers, he said.

Obama said his commitment to education also applies to the nation’s universities, specifically he said he asked Congress to permanently instate a tuition tax credit, which he estimated was worth $10,000 for four years of college.

He also challenged Congress to help him set a new goal for clean energy consumption in the U.S., asking that by 2035, 80 percent of America’s electricity come from clean energy sources. This includes wind, solar and nuclear in addition to clean coal or natural gas.

Obama closed by reemphasizing the importance of bipartisanship.

“”We may have differences in policy, but we all believe in the rights enshrined in our Constitution,”” he said. “”We may have different opinions, but we believe in the same promise that says this is a place where you can make it if you try. We may have different backgrounds, but we believe in the same dream that says this is a country where anything’s possible. No matter who you are. No matter where you come from.””

Pima Democratic Headquarters Gathers for State of the Union Address

 

More than 50 people gathered at the Pima County Democratic Headquarters to watch President Barack Obama give his third State of the Union address last night.

Bobby Fisher, an employee at a passport office, arrived a few minutes early. “”It’s going to be a great speech,”” he said. “”Our country is really getting back together. I think with the speech he gave here for the memorial, the hope of the country is getting back up.””

The event was hosted by the Pima County Democratic Party in collaboration with Organizing for America.

Executive Director of the Pima County Democratic Party Adam Kinsey had two goals in mind when planning the event. The first was to keep up their tradition of watching major speeches with like-minded people. The second took a more inclusive approach.

“”It’s good and important for people of all political stripes to get together,”” Kinsey said. “”Especially after the events of the (Jan.) 8th. We’re happy to provide that to people, in order for everyone to come together,”” he added, noting in reference to the shooting. “”We’re looking forward to seeing what the president has to say to move this nation forward.””

At 7:10 p.m., as MSNBC news showed the president walking to the podium past members of the House and Senate, with people at the headquarters cheering loudly. Just minutes into Obama’s address, the camera panned over to the empty seat that was reserved for Giffords. “”We pray for the health of our colleague and our friend, Gabby Giffords,”” Obama said. Everyone in the Pima County Democratic Headquarters stood up from their seats and clapped. When the camera panned to UA student Daniel Hernandez Jr., the Pima County Democratic Headquarters went wild.

Caitlin Brady, an alumna of the UA with a degree in public administration and political science, was a volunteer at the event who signed in all guests.

“”(Obama) did a great job getting people to come together at the memorial and helping us to mourn as a community, so now it’s our turn to support him as he gives his State of the Union address,”” she said.

Suzi Miller, a woman attending the watch party, thought the most reflective points of the address were that he “”acknowledges education is the most important issue”” and “”the fact that he didn’t want education to be on the dropping list”” when it came to budget cuts.

Her husband, Jeffrey Miller, a Vietnam veteran, said it was “”a great speech,”” yet is cautionary to believe that it will actually become a reality.

“”Sure, he can say all these things. But talk to me in six months ,and we’ll see what actually happens. I’ve been through many presidents who can promise things,”” he said, then naming every presidency since John F. Kennedy’s administration. Jeffrey Miller personally knew Gabe Zimmerman and had often volunteered in Giffords’ campaign.

In regards to the budget cuts, the Pima County Democrats were ecstatic when they heard Obama say that he was “”willing to eliminate whatever we can honestly afford to do without.”” The crowd stood and applauded, and one woman hugged the person seated next to her. “”But let’s make sure that we’re not doing it on the backs of our most vulnerable citizens. And let’s make sure what we’re cutting is really excess weight,”” Obama said. “”Cutting the deficit by gutting our investments in innovation and education is like lightening an overloaded airplane by removing its engine.””

The Pima County Democratic Headquarters filled with laughter as they clapped in support of Obama’s plan.

Quotes from the College Republicans

The College Republicans had their own State of the Union watch party at the Kiva Room in the Student Union Memorial Center.

Coty McKenzie, the state chair for the College Republicans and a political science senior, had mixed feelings about the speech.

“”I was really impressed with the way he talked about the troops,”” McKenzie said. “”As an American, it is one of the most important things to talk about.””

As an Arizona native, he was unimpressed with how little border security was addressed.

“”The fact that we don’t know who is coming over here is a huge issue for me. I fully understand most of them are hardworking individuals looking for a better life, however it should be legally.””  

Lastly, McKenzie wants to see more jobs created in the private sector.

“”Yeah, he (Obama) has created a lot of jobs, but how many in the IRS? The fact that a lot of people cannot get a job should be on the top of the priority list.””

Trevor Laky, the president of the College Republicans and a senior political science major, said the biggest issue for him was the government coming in every aspect of our lives.

“”They (the government) take away a state right to secure our borders, trying to make us not enforce a law that they failed to do.””

Laky also expressed that his views on gun control were unaffected by the Giffords shooting.

“”The problem is people make the argument because of the bad guy, never the good guy”” Laky said. He said that Joe Zamudio, one of the people who helped tackle Jared Loughner directly after the shooting had a gun on him during the incident. “”He is a law abiding civilian.””

More to Discover
Activate Search